By Oladele John Nihi
My analysis here is not based on best practices but on the speculation of what the opposition fear will happen with Mr. President’s decline to assent to the 2018 Electoral Bill for the fourth time. The fear from the opposition parties is that, the President is scared of free and fair election knowing that he benefitted from some of the technical errors in the 2010 Electoral Act that are addressed to a large extent in the 2018 Electoral Bill. According to the opposition parties the legitimacy and compulsory use of card reader in the new electoral bill is the main reason the President didn’t sign.
I don’t know if the fear from the opposition parties is genuine or not, but in the event that their worries is on the legality of the use of card, I make bold to say, as far as 2019 election is concerned, if all parties are to rig their way to/back to power, one of opposition parties is better position to benefit more.
What it means is that, the party that has the capacity to rig or manipulate election results more by bribing INEC officials to claim the card reader is faulty in their strong vote populated areas will come out victorious.
Now let me try to put this into proper perspective judging from previous elections.
The 2007 presidential election was the only time a presidential candidate was able to break President Buhari’s bulk votes in the North especially North West with Late President Yar’Adua scoring 24,638,063 while Buhari scored 6,605,299. Even President Obasanjo could not do much in 2003 as he scored 24,456,140 while Buhari scored 12,710,022 but because Buhari and Yar’Adua are both Muslim and Hausa-Fulani it was easier for PDP to penetrate the North.
For a real and common Hausa man on the street, whoever is declared winner between Buhari and Atiku, is a win win situation hence the fear of if Atiku win or is declared winner against Buhari, there will be crisis is not going to happen. If Atiku and PDP can win or rig election to their favor in the North, fine and good and if they are unable, fine too. Whoever have what it takes to get what he want in the North will take the day without any crisis.
Does Atiku/PDP need to win Buhari/APC in the North? The answer is NO. All they need is a reasonable percentage to complement the South South and South East votes. South West will greatly be divided among the two main parties and even the other smaller parties.
The decider of who or party that will win 2019 election are the South South and South East. If their governors and political leaders can unite and put morality aside, they can copy from Kano State Presidential results of 2015 and return any party they want with 98% of their total voting strength in almost all the state with the claim of faulty card reader hence the use of incident form which the Supreme Court backed in the cases of River State gubernatorial election.
It is a known fact that you cannot rig election where you are not popular but it is easier to rig election and defend it where you are popular. As at today, President Buhari is not popular in South South, South East and North Central. Buhari’s popularity has also reduced in the North East and North West because some of the actors that help aided votes in 2015 are now in PDP.
The votes from North West and North East come 2019 presidential election will be divided among the two Muslim and Hausa-Fulani candidates. Buhari is expected to have the highest votes but not overwhelmingly like 2015 while South West votes will be wasted on ALL presidential candidates.
Finally, what does it take to defend a rigged election? What it takes is the numbers of ‘powers that be’ that are with the person/party that rigged. As at today, the political gladiators especially the past Heads of state and Presidents, Retired Generals, Captains of Industries and international community are with one particular candidate and party.
This write up is not to encourage electoral malpractices but that the the ruling party does not have what it really takes to benefit from the President Buhari’s declined assent of the 2018 electoral bill if the opposition parties knows what they are doing